Brooklyn-based Fort Lean has been churning out some incredibly infectious, freewheeling indie rock for the last year, and their profile is about to rise even more with the release of their New Hobbies EP and album Quiet Day later in the year.
To fill those long hours on the road the quintet has been consuming plenty of tunes, and they were gracious enough to make us a playlist of what kept them going as they cruised from Cambridge, MA to Tulsa, OK. Hit the jump to continue.
Brooklyn’s Fort Lean has been on our radar for a while now. The five-piece band has a freewheeling, care-free quality that is rare in today’s indie rock scene, and it makes their music incredibly easy to connect with.
They’re also one of the hardest working new acts out there. In addition to Quiet Day, their album dropping on Oct. 2 via Ooh La La Records, Fort Lean has an EP titled New Hobbies that will be available solely at independent record stores and at the group’s tour stops.
“Easily,” which is the latest track to debut off New Hobbies, is more stripped down and relaxed than some of their other work, but still has their trademark sunniness and excellent guitar work.
The song is a wistful ode to the better days of a relationship, but despite the sad subject matter it’s hard for such a joyful band to get too down.
Even as Keenan Mitchell belts on the hook, “I don’t really wanna make you sick, and you don’t really wanna know/Maybe we’re just going at a different pace and we sped the tempo,” the track’s bubbly synths and pounding drums keep your head-nodding all the while.
Young the Giant is a comparison that gets thrown around a lot with Fort Lean, and on a thoughtful, catchy track like “Easily” it isn’t hard to see why.
Okay, Fort Lean, who gave you clearance to be this upbeat in the middle of January? I’m not going to even bother questioning what possessed you to ditch your shirts when, as I write this, your home base of Brooklyn is resting at an average of 35° until, like, Easter. I’m inquiring more about “I Don’t Mind”, which practically shaved the seasonal “too lazy/sad to shave” beard off my face mid-chorus.
As far as I can see, this is only Fort Lean’s second single from their debut LP, but “I Don’t Mind” wear those fuzzed out verses and that undeniably summer-ready chorus with almost too much confidence for a band so young. There’s a clear lineage to indie rock relatives Young the Giant with some fuzz rock nurturing from The Black Keys and Tame Impala, but Fort Lean swagger off with those comparisons like a couple kids fearlessly throwing their first college party. And frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if a ton of people show up for a single as fun as “I Don’t Mind.” I’m still skeptical about the (lack of) shirt choices, but party on, gentlemen.
Letting the buzz simmer might be deadly for some bands… but not in the case of Fort Lean who has been pretty quiet since 2012. They have returned in fine form, to a music scene that seems more primed now for their pillowy brand of pop rock, kicking things off with an insanely catchy single that I have become mildly obsessed with.